Why HelloFresh Workers Are Trying To Unionize

Lots of things have shifted as a result of the pandemic. You've probably heard of HelloFresh, the meal kit service that seemed to become exponentially more popular over the course of the last year. More folks were staying at home and giving home cooking the old college try. HelloFresh was right there to make things easier, offering quarantined folks and remote workers its tasty recipes delivered right to their doors.

People's opinions on work have also shifted due to the pandemic. Not only are many people realizing the benefits of working from home and having a true work-life balance, they're also standing up for their rights as employees, and refusing to go back to the office (or the drive-thru) without some changes (via New York Times).

So what do a meal kit and the nationwide labor shortage have in common, you ask? Well, let's just say the folks who help pack and prep the ingredients for your parmesan-crusted chicken have reached a breaking point.

HelloFresh workers are unionizing over poor working conditions

According to Vice, approximately 1,300 HelloFresh workers are attempting to unionize. The reason? "Dire circumstances" that include injuries, wages too low to pay rent, and a focus on work over all else — including water and bathroom breaks.

The workers, Vice reports, are gathering in collaboration with UNITE HERE, a labor union based in America and Canada. If the HelloFresh employees succeed in unionizing, they'll make history as the first meal kit delivery service to do so, setting a precedent for others like Blue Apron and Sunbasket.

As Eater points out, this attempt to unionize has been a long time coming for HelloFresh, which apparently got a second chance to thrive once the pandemic hit. It's unclear what might have happened had the company not had the immediate jump in sales, but it likely wouldn't have been good.

The demand for better working conditions at HelloFresh is merely a testament to the times and an echo of what we've seen before with companies like Whole Foods and Amazon. People are quite simply tired of grueling working conditions and little pay, and are standing up for what's right. As Unite Here's international president told Eater, "We've had enough of the pandemic profiteering."